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tv   Tavis Smiley  PBS  February 25, 2012 12:00am-12:30am PST

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and we will have a spirited conversation with actresses viola davis and octavia spencer. there has been talk about the kinds of roles being offered in hollywood and the kinds of roles for people in color. we will also here as a man who has established himself, harvey weinstein's. this is coming up, right now. >> every community has a martin luther king boulevard. it's the cornerstone we all know. it's not just a street or boulevard, but a place where walmart stands together with your community to make every day better. >> and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you.
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>> the movie "hugo" is up for more awards and any other film, the story of an orphan in the 1930's and stars the oscar winner sir ben kingsley/ >> a fix it. >> he might as well use these you have not stolen yet.
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tavis: does working in 3-d alter what you do as an actor? >> it demands a stillness and the accuracy. when you are really close up, the camera can see. the camera can see the thoughts in your brain before they happen. it is x-ray. you really have to be in character. so on top of the game.
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there are no filters. it is all from the heart, and then the camera. it was a tight rope but one that was exhilarating to all. you can never explain. you can never comment. you can never demonstrate. you just have to be. >> when you said that martin scorsese, i do not know him enough to be able to call him "marty," but mr. scorcese, when you say he demands a certain amount of street from you, what do you mean by that? >> in literally asks you for it, but he is a tender, intelligent, pure guy, that you have no choice but to get out of your corner by offering him the truth. once marty has given you the
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role, as part of you can completely relax and know that you do not have to audition any more. you do not have to demonstrate any more, and you do not have to ask what you just did, because he has seen everything. once he has said "action," you are free to be. you are not being tested. he is so secure in his craft and so confident in his craft that he knows you can do it. he puts the chemistry together in such a great way that he knows the sparks will fly, like me and chloe, he just knows. to me, that is very releasing. and freeing.
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tavis: tomorrow is shaping up to be another good night for harvey weinstein, and two of his actresses are competing against each other in the best actress category. >> darling. larry tells me that you are quite quite super. >> everyone tells me you are wonderful. >> but i am too old to play her. the truth is all that matters to him, and that is why it matters. >> she wants us to take her seriously, she must learn to calm down. >> if the right honorable
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gentleman could perhaps a tad more closely to what i am saying, -- could perhaps pay more close attention to what i am saying? tavis: how much of your success, you and your brother, has to do with being the "anti"? you used the word. how much of it has to do with being "the anti"? >> tavis, i have tried to make movies that appea to me and also to make something that is different out there. i get a kick when some people criticize me, and i go," oh, my god, if they only stood -- understood the economic realities of what i do," and they think i do not go far enough, but in running a
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company, i try to go as far as anybody in their right mind would go, and sometimes not even in their right mind. sometimes people sit back in journalism and go, "oh, my god. could it be tougher? could it be in this? could it be that?" and i am wondering what studio is doing what we do, like a spotlight, so i take risk because i believe in the work that we do, and i also believe in movies. i am a fan, and i want to see something different. last year, we may "the king's speech." people said to me, "a movie about stuttering. are you kidding? you are grazing -- crazy." so i do not know.
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i might make the first super hero movie that bombs. tavis: i thoroughly enjoyed it. tell me what your hopes are for it. >> i read the book about a 23- year-old boy who got to make a movie at the hollywood studios in london, and the movie does not take track, when arthur miller left marilyn monroe after they had a big fight in the middle of their honeymoon, and the boy is sort of told her the truth about life, this, that, and she kidnapped him one day, and i cannot say that the idea of being kidnapped by marilyn monroe did not have a total appeal to my fantasy, and, you know, by red -- i read adrian's
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script. it is perhaps maybe the most courageous act of anyone in a movie. if you think financing the artist is as courageous as playing marilyn monroe, i do not think this is. dards could have been thrown at her, and instead, roses were thrown at her -- starts could have been thrown at her. -- darts could have been thrown. tavis: gary oldman, already known for playing some critically acclaimed roles, a critical performance in the thriller "tinker tailor soldier spy." >> she told me a secret. >> the mother of all things. >> she had information concerning all things.
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>> ugly. >> we are not so very different, you and i. considered weaknesses. tavis: i have yet to read a single person in this town or beyond who writes about the academy awards who does not have you on the shortlist for a nomination. i do not want to jinx you, but i want to ask, when you are hanging out with collin firth, do you have a way of navigating could -- navigating it? >> he has a lot of practice at it. i think he has won pretty much everything you can win for "the
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king's speech." he gave me a little bit of it buys the other night, telling me if i should win, he said, "the brief. -- be brief." tavis: it is interesting they give that advice after they have been on the stage. >> yes, before the clock starts counting down, and you see this thing flashing, please wrap up. tavis: we will see if that moment happens, we will grade you. >> it is nice to be in the orbit. nice to be on the list. tavis: yes, yes. bergesen do not know the zero worked -- for those who do not know the work, tell us what the movie is about. >> george smiley, sort of a
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chief deputy to the main guide at the british secret intelligence service, they are both out by -- outed by a new regime coming in, and they discover that there is a mole, an informer, who is giving secrets from within the secret service to the soviets. the backdrop of the cold war, sort of as a backdrop, and the master spy, smiley, is sort of recruited back in but really working covertly outside of the service. he mounts an investigation to root out the mole. tavis: the acting category for
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women also has some big names, and two of the nominees come from the same film "the help," octavia spencer and viola davis turning in wonderful performances, but it reignited the conversations about the kinds of roles that we celebrate for people of color, the candid conversation we conducted right here. >> on the chair before she breaks a hip. >> i am not death yet. will you see if she has some of that ambrosia? >> like the kentucky derby. >> four give me, lord, but i am going to have to kill that woman
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-- forgive me, lord. tavis: let me be honest. i try to be honest on television or off the air. i celebrate the two of you. i am delighted that you renominated m m pulling for you to win on the award night. i would not want it any other way, and yet, and i have friends that are feeling the same way, there is an ambivalence here. when denzel washington was up for "training day." i have a friend who tells me all of the time to get over it. i did not like what they did to him on "hurricane." did nominated for "malcolm x," a
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black here -- giving nominated. but then he gets the top prize. you have both done wonderful work. there is something that sticks in my craw about celebrating mcdaniel so many years ago for playing a miad, -- maid, and i want you to win, but i am ambivalent. >> here is the first thing that we should address. for me, anthony hopkins won for being a serial killer with a cannibal. and charlize thrown -- theron won for being a serial killer, so it does not strike me that the economy would nominate villains, but i do not have a problem with nominating these two earnest, hard-working women, and we have never seen the story from their perspective, be
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it as a maid that a white woman wrote the source text, but the fact is, -- . as it may -- be it as it may that a white woman wrote the source text. i am pleased that you are happy for us, because a lot of people are not, but i do understand. >> that very mindset that you have and that a lot of african- americans have is absolutely destroying the black artist. the black artist cannot live in a place in a revisionist place. the black artist can only tell the truth about humanity, and humanity is messy. people are messy. caucasian actors know that. they understand that. they understand that when you bring a human being to live, what you want as an artist to show all of the flaws as well as
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the beauty, we, as african american artists, are more concerned with image and message and not execution, which is why every time you see our images, they have been watered down to a point where they are not realistic at all. it is like all of our humanity has been washed out. we as artists cannot be politicians. we as artists can only be truth tellers, so guess what? if the woman next door killed her baby and was 100 pounds overweight and ate a piece of fried chicken and then went next door and kills somebody, that is what we have to do as black artists. tavis: you feel no burden at all about any of your choices about black people? >> no. where is the indictment within the jewish community about movies about their history? tavis: they do not have to be
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indicted about their history, because they will make a movie about the holocaust seven days per week. >> we have so many african american producers, why are we still have in this, and people who made money in the industry, what are we still having this conversation? -- why are we still having this conversation? tavis: because they do not own the distribution channels. >> why you waiting for them to do anything? you should be doing it yourself. tavis: agreed. >> we have enough brilliant minds out there that if people are this upset, then i am thinking let's be part of the solution and paul are resources and have our own. -- pool our resources and have our own. >> that is the issue, and the issue with me, too.
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i have done the same thing. i have absolutely been guilty of the same thing. 350 years of racist policy in this country, and what is left is this pain, this anger, and anything, any image, you know, that is out of sort can agitate it. it is not a clear-cut, linear argument, because, listen. i am a dark-skinned african- american actress, and i would say that i have had so many african-american artists in my house having the same conversations. i have read all of the script that they have given me, young writers who say," i have got the ultimate role for you, ms. davis," and they are all urban, get to mothers who look unattractive been speak -- --
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urban, unattractive mothers. i am saying it is something deeper. tavis: it is a sickness. >> it is a deeper issue, and i think we sometimes want to revise our history, but we very rarely want to face it. we do not want to face that somehow we cannot let go of that pain. tavis: it seems almost unthinkable that in this age of digital 3-d and computer technology that a silent black- and-white film could get an oscar nomination, let alone take home the night's biggest prize, but if the artist does win for best picture, it would be a triumph for filming of a bygone era, and the tension between the old and the new. ♪
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♪ tavis: what made you think that a silent film to the woodwork? >> i would never take that kind of risk. that is what i said to the finance our and the people that i want money fund -- from. -- that is what i said to be finance people that we wanted money from. there was a good movie to make. you never know it is a good movie with people, but the point was to make a good movie, and i really love silent movies. babies in theaters.
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-- movies in theaters. in the 1920's. if you make a silent movie now, you have the benefit of 80 years of sophistication. i can make a movie that nobody made, so, yes, that is the point. you never know how people -- harvey did that wonderful job. how we introduced the movie. tavis: for those who have not seen it, described the story line. >> a big scale -- star, a male actor, and at the beginning, he needs a younger on chanute -- ingenue, and this story is there
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crossed destiny, more or less. >> there are a couple of moments, a couple of beat in the film where we really do hear a sound. i do not want to give it away, but how did you decide that those were the places that sound needed to come through. >> well, in the movie, the antagonists is the silence, so for the first noisy sequence, i wanted to present the antagonist. i decided to put this year -- here. there would not be any big surprise. it is a classic story. the way to tell it. have this story is is more important for maine.
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-- how the story is. that is more important to me. yes, the convention of the movie is to be silent. then you have sound, and it is very shocking. it is normal. tavis: is the artist wins in a -- if the artist wins on sunday night, it would join the only other one that had won. until next time, good night from los angeles. as always, keep the faith. ♪ ♪ we are having a heat wave, a tropical heat wave
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the way that i move, that thermometer -- ♪ >> for more information on today's show, visit tavis smiley at pbs.org. tavis: hi, i'm tavis smiley. join me next time for a conversation with joe scarborough and a look at the gop primary race. that is next time. we will see you then. >> every community has a martin luther king boulevard. it's the cornerstone we all know. it's not just a street or boulevard, but a place where walmart stands together with your community to make every day better. >> and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you.
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>> be more. pbs.
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>> this is "bbc world news." funding for this presentation is made possible by the freeman foundation of new york, stowe, vermont, and honolulu. newman's own foundation. and union bank.

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